Lollipop patrols to be cut across County Durham to save cash

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LUNCHTIME school lollipop patrols could be cut as a council bids to save cash.

A consultation has begun on plans to remove lunchtime school crossing patrols from 60 sites across County Durham, including 10 in East Durham, in a move expected to save £163,986 a year.

Those in Peterlee are outside Acre Rigg Infants School, in Acre Rigg Road, Passfield Way/Durham Way near Shotton Hall Primary School and outside Seascape Primary School, in Eden Lane.

In Horden, the affected crossing is outside Cotsford Infants School, in Cotsford Park, and in Easington, the affected patrol is on the traffic island near the Post Office in Seaside Lane.

Two patrols are affected in Blackhall – the traffic island on the Coast Road, next to the Aged Miners Homes, and next to Blackhall Resource Centre, near the Middle Street/School Avenue junction.

In Wingate, the affected site is at the Moor Lane/North Road junction, which is near Wingate Junior School.

Other sites are outside Thornley Primary School, in Coopers Terrace, Thornley, and Margaret Terrace/Front Street, near Deaf Hill Primary School.

Durham County Council chiefs have stressed that the proposals would only be introduced at locations where no unaccompanied children are known to routinely leave the premises at lunchtime.

But Durham County Councillor for Peterlee’s Passfield ward, Joan Maslin, said: “Hopefully they have looked into this enough.

“If no children are going home, then it is a waste of money, but Durham Way and Passfield Way is a very busy area at any time of day.”

Morning and afternoon crossing patrols, as well as lunchtime sessions at six sites elsewhere in County Durham, where pupils are known to routinely leave school premises unaccompanied during the lunch break, would be unaffected by the proposals.

Councillor Brian Stephens, the council’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods and partnerships, said: “Pupil road safety is a priority for Durham County Council and our school crossing patrol service exceeds national standards.

“However, like all councils we are continuing to have to make savings and improve the efficiency of our services.

“We want people to tell us what they think of these proposals so that we can take their views into account before we make a final decision.

“We particularly want to hear from people who use the school crossing patrol service on a lunchtime.”

All those affected by the plans, including children, parents, school staff and general members of the public, are invited to take part in the consultation, which runs until November 7.

Specific consultations will take place with schools in the affected areas to look at the possibility of them funding their lunchtime service themselves if they want to see it retained.

The county council hopes to support schools’ bids to do this where sustainable funding can be identified through the school or a third party.

Council bosses say the move is part of ongoing efforts to reduce costs and improve efficiency in the face of unprecedented reductions in Government funding.

An online survey is available at www.durham.gov.uk/consultation and paper surveys are available from the council’s road safety team on 03000 268174.